Cecil hepworth

Film producer Cecil Hepworth used Bognor Regis as his base during the filming periods of 1907-1909, and was the first person to make films in the region.

His company was founded in 1904, and he built his first film studios at Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

Most of Cecil Hepworth' films were lost or destroyed, but his comedy, A Seaside Girl (1907, 5 mins) survived and can be watched on the BFI Player for free. Have fun trying to figure out the specific Bognor locations!

On foot, in a carriage, on a bicycle, even in a bathing machine.... In this knockabout comedy, a young woman gives the gentlemen courting her a run for their money. Filmed at Bognor Regis in 1907, this light-hearted film provides a fascinating glimpse of the Edwardian seafront in between gags. There's a happy ending for the Scottish suitor at least, which makes the most of the now-quaint bathing machine, offering his lady the opportunity for a quick-change into bridalwear.

This film was directed by Lewin Fitzhamon, a prolific filmmaker working for Cecil Hepworth's company. Hepworth was one of Britain's first filmmakers and most successful producer-directors in the country in the early period. 

Cecil Hepworth's Bognor Regis films:
August 1907
Sailors Lass.
Cast: Dolly Lupone, Lewis Fitzhamon
Simpkin’s Saturday Off.
Cast: Thurston Harris.
A Seaside Girl
Cast: May Clark, Frank Wilson, Thurston Harris.

September 1907
A Tramp’s Dream of Wealth.
Cast: Thurston Harris, Gertie Potter.
Dumb Sagacity.
Cast: Gertie Potter.

October 1907
The Artful Lover.
Cast: Thurston Harris. May Clark, Dolly Lupone, and Frank Wilson.
A Letter in the Sand.
Cast: Dolly Lupone, Thurston Harris.

November 1907
Dying of Thirst.
The Heavenly Twins.
Cast: Thurston Harris, Gertie Potter
Preserving Edwin.
Cast: May Clark, Thurston Harris.

September 1908
A Thoughtless Beauty.
Retitled Forced to Consent.
Cast: Gertie Potter.
A Fascinating Game.
Cast: Gertie Potter
An Unfortunate Bathe.
Cast: Gertie Potter

October 1908
The Schoolboys’ Revolt.
Cast: Gertie Potter, Bertie Potter.
The Nursemaid’s Dream.
Cast: Gertie Potter.

Much of the information on this page is from Hepworth Film, where you can read more about Cecil Hepworth's Bognor Regis years and his whole life and career.

Also recommended is the Embridge Museum's online exhibition - Cecil Hepworth: Cinema's Forgotten Pioneer.